Medical Breakthrough-Leg Lengthening - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/20/05

Medical Breakthrough-Leg Lengthening

Uneven legs aren't always something people are born with. For Kody Freen, the problem came from a football injury. During a game last year, he broke a section of bone right at the growth plate, which coincidentally happened during a big growth spurt. So, the leg with the break didn't grow like the other leg.

Here is what's new at the University of Oklahoma, an internal leg lengthening device. Kody's bones had to be separated so the device could be inserted. The fancy name for this device is an intramedullary skeletal kinetic distractor, not easy to say but easy to see the benefits.

"We let the bone start to heal, and as that starts to heal, we then gradually pull the bone ends apart, and when we're pulling it apart, it fills in with healing bone," says Joseph Davey M.D. and orthopedic surgery. Before this new technology, patients had to wear bulky hardware attached to the bones through the skin. Kody says it was a lot easier to make a comeback with this new internal device. The new bone grows at about a millimeter a day, and Dr. Davey says it must be monitored very closely to make sure the bone has time to solidify to support the patient's weight.

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